Will Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina become the next high-profile Republican to launch a 2024 presidential campaign?
Scott’s upcoming travel itinerary is surely sparking more speculation that the rising GOP star and the only Black Republican in the Senate is moving closer to declaring his candidacy.
In the week ahead, the senator will head to Iowa and New Hampshire, the two states that kick off the Republican presidential nominating calendar, and will hold a two-day donor summit in his home state.
Scott will travel to Iowa April 12 for his second trip to the state this year. The itinerary includes teaming up with GOP Rep. Ashley Hinson for a roundtable discussion with homeschool families, followed by an address in Cedar Rapids at the Five Seasons Republican Women’s Group dinner.
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Scott last month made a jam-packed stop in the Hawkeye State, teaming up with popular Iowa GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds, speaking to students at Drake University and headlining a Polk County GOP fundraising dinner.
On April 13, the senator will make his first visit this year to New Hampshire for a round of retail politicking as he greets voters at the Red Arrow Diner in Manchester, which for decades has been a must stop in the Granite State for White House hopefuls. Later in the day, he’s scheduled to meet with local pastors and Republican leaders.
The Iowa and New Hampshire stops will be immediately followed by a two-day donor summit in his home state of South Carolina, which votes third in the GOP presidential primary schedule. Invitations for the April 14-15 event, which will include a reception and dinner on Friday evening and a breakfast, policy discussion and “political update” Saturday, were sent to donors across the country.
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“This next week will provide clarity to how he’s thinking about 2024,” a Republican operative in Scott’s political orbit, who asked to remain anonymous to speak more freely, told Fox News.
Scott is on what he calls his “Faith in America” listening tour, which he says will help him decide whether to launch a presidential campaign. Word of the tour was first reported by Fox News earlier this year.
“As I continue my Faith in America tour, I’m hearing from families across the country about the need for new leaders who have faith in the American people,” the senator said a few days ago in a release advertising the upcoming stops.
Last month, while headlining the closing dinner in a three-day Club for Growth donor retreat in upscale Palm Beach, Florida, Scott said “so far, so good,” when asked about his listening tour.
“We’re getting tremendous feedback,” he added.
Scott received a warm response from the crowd at the exclusive dinner, which included some of the top donors in the GOP. The upcoming meeting with more top contributors — as well as the early state travel — are more clear signals the senator’s revving up for a likely White House run.
“All this is further indication that Tim Scott’s Faith in America message is resonating as he travels the country. Republicans are being introduced to Scott, and so far they like his optimistic message,” a source with knowledge of the senator’s thinking recently told Fox News.
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Scott, who cruised to re-election in November to what he has said will be his final six-year term in the Senate, frequently spotlights being raised by a single mother and highlights his faith. If he moves ahead with a White House run, he plans to court evangelical Christian voters, who play an outsized role in GOP politics in Iowa and his home state. Former Vice President Mike Pence, who also appears to be moving toward a 2024 campaign, has long been a champion to social conservatives and is also expected to heavily court evangelicals in Iowa and South Carolina.
Scott would also face serious competition from Nikki Haley, the former ambassador to the United Nations and former two-term South Carolina governor who launched a 2024 presidential campaign two months ago. Scott and Haley, who’s spending plenty of time on the campaign trail in Iowa and New Hampshire, share many of the same allies and donors.
Former President Trump, who announced his third White House run in November, remains the clear front-runner in the GOP nomination race.
Polls indicate that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who remains on the 2024 sidelines but is expected to launch a campaign later this spring or summer, would be Trump’s top rival.
While Scott doesn’t have the same national standing with conservatives that Trump and DeSantis enjoy, he’s known as a ferocious fundraiser who boasted more than $20 million in his campaign coffers at the beginning of the year, which could be transferred to a presidential campaign. The fundraising war chest could give Scott a head start over some of his potential rivals and affords him some extra breathing room to make his decision.
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